Tag: Ben Sheets

Ben Sheets Is Back: Why Atlanta Braves Ace Is the Real Deal

When the Atlanta Braves signed Ben Sheets earlier this season, I didn’t think much of it.

In truth, I saw Sheets as a once-dominant but injury-prone 34-year-old pitcher, four years removed from being his vintage self.  Nothing more, nothing less.

On top of that, due to Tommy John surgery, Sheets hadn’t even thrown an inning of professional baseball since 2010.  Before that, he hadn’t pitched since 2008.  

So pardon me if I didn’t cheer in jubilation when Sheets began his comeback trail with the Mississippi Braves on July 4.  He was more of a footnote to me than anything, as I still had notions that Atlanta would make a move for Zack Greinke or Ryan Dempster.  

Five weeks later, Sheets is anything but a footnote.  

He only threw 10.2 innings in his two minor league starts, but did so with a 1.89 FIP and 10 strikeouts against a single walk.  

Atlanta rushed him up to the majors on July 15 to plug a hole in the rotation, and Sheets responded with a six-inning, five-strikeout, two-hit, one-walk effort, in which no runs were surrendered.

And the rest, they say, is history.

Through five starts in an Atlanta Braves uniform, Sheets has tossed 32 innings, recording a 4-1 record while posting a 1.41 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.

He is not without his critics though, as they point to his 87.8 percent strand rate as an indication of fortunate bounces, and his average fastball velocity of 90.6 as a declining skill.


I would be naïve to suggest that Sheets is likely to maintain his 1.41 ERA, or to even ponder the possibility of a return to his 2004 form, which saw him post a WAR of 8.0, an ERA of 2.70, a K/9 rate of 10.03 and a BB/9 rate of 1.22.  Either instance would make me worthy of being beaten with a stick and chased out of the Writer Community here at Bleacher Report.

But still I wonder, just how good will Ben Sheets be the rest of the year?

I’m going to trash the velocity aspect altogether.  Sheets’ average fastball velocity this year has been 90.6, and when he’s needed to, he’s been able to dig down deep and come up with 93.

That’s not the 95-mile an hour Ben Sheets fastball of old, but velocity isn’t necessarily indicative of success.  Jered Weaver, arguably the American League Cy Young winner at this point, throws an 88.3 mile an hour fastball.

The advanced metrics don’t even suggest a steep decline in Sheets’ future performance. Sheets’ .309 BABIP against is actually .14 higher than his career norm, and his FIP, a stat that suggests what his ERA should be—independent of the abilities of the fielders behind him—is 2.80.  If Sheets were to have logged enough innings with his 2.80 FIP maintained, he would rank third in baseball in FIP, behind Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg.

I’m not even sure a comparison of this version of Ben Sheets to vintage Ben Sheets is even fair anymore, because he has literally reinvented himself.  He’s become an entirely different pitcher.

With lesser velocity, he no longer overthrows, and his command has benefited greatly.  Sheets’ BB/9 (1.97) is the best it’s been since 2005.  His strikeout rate has declined to about 6.5 K/9, but he’s also not allowing home runs (.28 HR/9).

And get this: in five starts and 32 innings pitched, Sheets has a WAR of .9.  “Big deal,” you may say.  But if you extrapolated that over 30 starts (roughly 192 innings), his current performance would garner him 5.4 WAR, which would have been 12th in baseball last year, ahead of Matt Cain, Cole Hamels and Tim Lincecum.



Here’s my favorite part: he now throws a pretty dominant change-up to keep the hitters guessing.  His curveball (or his “dragon snapper,” as ESPN Fantasy Analyst Matthew Berry refers to it) is still as sharp as ever, and he’s still throwing it as much as he ever has (career usage rate: 28.5 percent, 2012 usage rate: 28.6 percent).  In other words, by using his fastball roughly 12 percent less than his career average (understandable since he no longer throws 95), he has been able to increase his change-up usage rate to 23.2 percent, as opposed to 7.8 percent in 2008.   

He throws his fastball with impeccable command, he teases hitters with his improved change-up and then flashes his vintage curveball to remind everyone of the pitcher he used to be—and the pitcher he is still capable of being: a crafty frontline starter with veteran gall, brilliant command and one heck of a curveball.

Ben Sheets is back.  Back from a surgery he didn’t think he could come back from, back to a level no one thought he could reach again.

And in a season chock full of the tremendous stories of Mike Trout, R.A. Dickey and the Pittsburgh Pirates, the comeback trail of one Ben Sheets may top them all.

Ben Sheets is helping rewrite the 2012 MLB season.  But in his version, he’s much more than a footnote. 

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Ben Sheets Shows Veteran Fortitude in Braves’ Win over Nationals

Atlanta Braves starter Ben Sheets showed he is in the rotation to stay after Saturday’s performance against the Nationals.

Sheets went six innings, gave up five hits, allowed no runs and struck out six.

But what showed me the most was Sheets’ fortitude to get through tough innings, when it looked like he was in trouble.

In four of the six innings, Sheets allowed Washington baserunners to get in scoring position.

But, each time that happened, the right-hander hunkered down and got the needed outs to get out of the inning.

In the first inning, it was a strikeout to Adam LaRoche. The second saw Danny Espinosa strike out, and Jesus Flores and Edwin Jackson fly out.

The third inning saw Michael Morse ground into a double play to end the inning, and the sixth had LaRoche striking out (again) and Ian Desmond flying out to center.

Although the frustration was evident on Sheets’ face when Washington runners got on, it didn’t affect him as he went after the hitters at the plate.

And, for a team that needed another veteran in the rotation, that’s very important.

For the season, Sheets has now pitched 12 innings, given up seven hits, no runs and struck out 11. Even more, his season WHIP is 0.92.

Although it’s only two starts, it’s still something the Braves have been looking for in terms of consistency.

In an article I wrote on July 17, I stated that after Sheets’ first start for the Braves, he deserved a longer look in the rotation.

After Saturday’s performance, I don’t think he deserves a longer look.

Instead, slot him in the No. 3 spot in the rotation behind Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson. He’s earned it in just two starts.

Sheets’ next start will either be Wednesday against the Marlins or Friday at home against the Phillies, depending on if the Braves make a trade for another starter, or if they call up Randall Delgado or Julio Teheran to make a spot start on Wednesday to allow Sheets to get full rest.

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New York Mets’ Fifth Starter: Who Will It Be?

So far this off-season the Mets have been somewhat quiet only bringing in Boof Bonser, Ronny Paulino and D.J. Carrasco.  Bonser can be a solid spot-starter for the Mets while Paulino will be a nice addition to have behind the plate to backup Josh Thole.  Carrasco is who I feel to be the Mets’ best pickup so far.  Carrasco will be a great addition to a bullpen that has lost the likes of Pedro Feliciano.

The problem with the Mets this off-season is that they have not yet filled a role that is vital, the fifth spot in the rotation.  Sandy Alderson has said the he does not expect the Mets to make any moves until the new year but this spot is something that needs to be filled quickly.  Yesterday, the Mets lost their shot at getting Brandon Webb who signed with the Rangers.  This just goes to show a fifth starter must be chosen soon.

There are several candidates that could fill this role for the Mets, may it be Chris Young, other free agents, or some guys who are already on the team.

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Oakland A’s Pitching Gives Reason To Be Optimistic About Future

Expectations can be tricky things.

Often times, teams with high expectations fail to measure up, while squads without expectations do better than anticipated.  For the 2010 Athletics, the latter is true.

Without any considerable power threat on the roster (Jack Cust started the season at Triple-A), it was hard to imagine the non-explosive A’s coming close to .500 record.  With two games the left, Oakland is two wins away from finishing 81-81.  

No matter what happens the next two nights in Seattle, the Athletics’ brass must be pleased with the way the summer played out.

Oakland scored the fourth-fewest runs in the American League, was second-worst in total bases, and hit the second-fewest home runs.  

But the team was able to hover around the .500 mark for most of the season because of its pitching staff.  As one of the youngest staffs in all of baseball, the A’s have the lowest team ERA in the AL (3.57).  They did it largely without two of their top starters heading into the season, Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer.

No one had questioned whether or not the team had built a foundation for a strong staff, but not many outside the organization believed its young arms would be this good this quickly.

Trevor Cahill pitched his way into the role of the team’s ace with his outstanding season in 2010.  The sinkerballer showed flashes during last year’s rookie campaign but was unable to consistently locate his pitches.  In 2009 Cahill gave up 27 home runs while compiling a 4.63 ERA. 

This season the 22-year-old right-hander only let 19 balls leave the yard, strung together a 2.97 ERA, and won 18 games. 

Brett Anderson managed only 18 starts, but still pitched well and lowered his 2010 ERA (2.91) by more than a run from his 2009 mark (4.06).  When healthy, he could have the best stuff of any left-handed starter in baseball.  But he’ll have to prove that he can stay healthy over the course of an entire season. 

Like Cahill, Anderson is 22 years old.

The advantage the starting staff is the different look each pitcher provides.  Cahill can dominate with his sinker, Anderson’s a true power arm with four plus pitches, Gio Gonzalez was praised by Torri Hunter as having the best left-handed curve in baseball, and Dallas Braden’s bulldog mentality allows him to be successful with less than dominating stuff.

Those four starters are good enough to win a pennant if healthy.  If Vin Mazzaro can make the jump next season like his counterparts did in 2010, the A’s should have far and away the best pitching staff in baseball.

Owner Lew Wolff and GM Billy Beane have both pledged to make the offense better in 2011.  Whether it comes from inside the organization, through free-agency or trades, the team could very well find itself back as a contender for an AL West crown this time next year.

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Grading Oakland Pitcher Ben Sheets $10 Million Into His Contract

This day came a little earlier than I supposed it would. Ben Sheets’ season is now officially over. Possibly his career. Twice at the quarter season and half way points, I have given Sheets an overall grade. Now, instead of having two more reviews, I am forced to give my final one with his season ending surgery.

Sheets plans on having flexor-tendon surgery, mostly so that he can pitch again if he would like to; but he stated: “If I came back, I would have to feel a lot better.” (San Francisco Chronicle).

He will most likely miss all of next season, and there is a good chance he could be done permanently.  The infamous Dr. James Andrews did his prior surgery on his injured tendon in his arm.

Now let’s get to the review:

Sheets, the 6’1”, 222 pound starter was 4-9 this season with a 4.53 ERA. The league average is 4.15.

He started 20 games this season and had seven no decisions. He had 116 innings pitched this year which was his second lowest of his career (88 in 2006 was lowest). Sheets was 1-1 against his division with four no decisions.

All of these factors are mixed in with his $10 million contract which equals out to $2.5 million dollars per win. I am not trying to be too hard on Sheets—who undoubtedly went out and pitched hard, but the wins just aren’t there.

He was getting quite consistent to end the year as he didn’t allow more than four Earned Runs after a May 2nd debacle where he gave up 9 runs to the Blue Jays. That meant over his last fourteen starts, he has left his team in the game, just not been able to get run support.

With all of this taken into account, he can’t be given a high grade, since he just didn’t step it up in the games when needed; but still became effective to a point as the season progressed. The season ending injury realistically has to hurt his grade overall.

Season Ending Grade: C


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Seven Things the Oakland A’s Must See in the Second Half From Their Players

There was a point in time in the season where the Oakland A’s could have made a surprising run at the American League West division title, but all hope are pretty much gone after another dreadful performance against the New York Yankees. 

So, what is there for the second half of the season for the A’s? Well there’s five things the A’s have to have to show they could become a contender in the American League West division. 

First, regardless of the batting average of Chris Carter he needs to be called up to provide a big bat in the lineup. For the Sacramento Rivercats, Carter has hit 17 homers and driven in 60. Along with the 17 homers he also has 22 doubles and two triples. Meaning in 83 games 41 of his 74 hits have gone for extra bases. 

Those numbers are something that the A’s are in desperate need of a big bat. 

For the second thing that has to change is Daric Barton needs to stop taking so many pitches and start swinging the bat more.

He’s leading the league in walks, but I don’t know how many times I’ve seen him get a pitch to hit and he’s either taking it or fouling the ball off or in a big time situation he gets caught looking at a close pitch. 

That happened against the Yankees. The A’s were trailing 5-1 at the time and this was a game changing situation. With the bases loaded and a 3-2 strike count in the bottom of the fifth inning.

CC Sabathia threw a fastball on the outside corner instead of fouling the pitch off like he did on the previous pitch he didn’t swing. Mike Winters the man calling balls and strikes ran Barton up. 

Barton was upset and immediately slammed his helmet down and was ejected. When hearing the call on the radio I thought hey here’s another example of the Yankees getting the benefit of the doubt.

But, today when I saw the replay of that inning with Barton taking the third strike. I could only shake my head and think to myself what was Barton thinking? That was a perfectly placed pitch by Sabathia it was a strike and even if it was a ball that pitch was way too close for Barton to be not swinging. 

The third thing the A’s need to see is Gio Gonzalez continue to mature. When he gets in trouble in games he lets it bother him. Against the Yankees there’s another perfect example of the growth that needs to be shown from Gonzalez. 

For the game he had way too many baserunners. In the top of the fourth he let his concentration get away from him even after he got a double play. 

Gonzalez allowed a single to Brett Gardner with the two outs. He attempted to throw over a number of times, but none were successful at keeping him from stealing second. 

Ramiro Pena was the batter and he fell behind him and with a 3-1 pitch threw a fastball to the outside corner which Pena blooped into shallow right and Gardner scored easily. 

Pena was able to take second on a wild pitch by Gonzalez. Derek Jeter then with his patented inside out swing hit a groundball past Barton for a single allowing Pena to easily to score from second. 

Nick Swisher was up next and again he was wild getting to a 3-1 count. Gonzalez got lucky on a ball hit down the leftfield line but fortunately it went foul for him. Next pitch though was not even close, walking Swisher. 

The very next hitter Mark Teixeira didn’t have to wait long to get a pitch to hit. He drove a fastball out to dead center. So, the A’s came into the inning winning 1-0 by the end of the inning the A’s were then trailing 5-1. 

The inning started for the Yankees with two outs. All Gonzalez had to do was get the third out. After Gardner got on and stole second, that’s when Gonzalez should have gone right after Pena instead of pitching him carefully. 

I get the fact that the Yankees have a scary lineup, but Pena doesn’t exactly strike fear into many pitchers and it shouldn’t have happened to Gonzalez. 

The fourth thing relates to Gonzalez’s meltdown. This has to do with both Curt Young and Kurt Suzuki. 

When Gonzalez walked Swisher to put runners on first and second. Either Young or Suzuki should have been out to the mound to talk with Gonzalez to settle him down instead of allowing the next batter to come up to the plate and then hit a three run homerun. 

It was easy to tell that Gonzalez was rattled just a bit after the stolen base to Gardner. With the Yankees you can see the difference with Jorge Posada behind the plate or even Francisco Cervelli. 

When a pitcher is struggling they’ll get up from behind the plate and either make a gesture to calm the pitcher down or they will walk to the mound to talk things over. While Suzuki is still growing as a catcher he has to do a better job of understanding when a young A’s pitcher is struggling. 

That same thing can be said for Young and even though he only had one visit to the mound, he should have been out there talking to Gonzalez at some point during the inning.

The fifth thing that must happen is that Ryan Sweeney needs to start showing that he can hit for power. Otherwise in the offseason he should be traded. It’s inexcusable that a 6’4 215 pound outfielder is a slap hitter. 

Most of Sweeney’s hits have come to the opposite field and he rarely pulls the ball. Well Sweeney in the second half must show that he can learn to take the ball out of the ballpark. 

He has just one homerun this season. For his career he has just 13 in 360 career games. 

Also, it doesn’t look good for Sweeney while Carlos Gonzalez who was part of the Matt Holliday trade from last year is having an all-star caliber season for the Colorado Rockies and has settled in hitting in the third spot. On the season he’s hit 15 homers driven in 55, has a .303 average, and 12 stolen bases.

There’s nothing wrong with Sweeney’s defense he can play any of the three outfield positions and has a great arm, but offensively he leaves a lot to be desired. 

As for the sixth thing the A’s need to do is trade Ben Sheets and Kevin Kouzmanoff. Sheets needs to go to a team that can give him the offensive support he needs.

Kouzmanoff, while an outstanding defensive third basemen is as inconsistent as they come as a hitter. For a few weeks he’ll be ice cold the next few weeks red hot, and then it’s backto being ice cold. What’s worse is Kouzmanoff’s tendency to swing at pitches nowhere near the strikezone.

Finally the seventh thing the A’s need to do is change the lineup and rotation for the second half. 


1. Coco Crisp CF

2. Mark Ellis 2B

3. Chris Carter 1B/DH

4. Jack Cust DH/RF/LF

5. Kurt Suzuki C

6. Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B

7. Ryan Sweeney RF

8. Cliff Pennington SS

9. Rajai Davis LF/CF


1. Trevor Cahill

2. Brett Anderson/If healthy at the end of the all-star break

3. Gio Gonzalez

4. Dallas Braden

5. Vin Mazzaro

As the second half approaches for the A’s and to have a successful season they must bring up Carter, Barton needs to swing more, Gonzalez needs to learn how to control himself when he gets rattled, Suzuki needs to understand when to calm his pitcher down, Sweney needs to develop his power stroke, Sheets and Kouzmanoff need to be sent packing, and the lineup and rotation must be changed. 

On one other note. A’s fans need to start going out and supporting their team. It’s an absolute disgrace that Yankees fans dominate the A’s fans when they are in town and same can be said about Red Sox fans. 


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Grading Oakland Pitcher Ben Sheets: $5 Million Into His Contract

As the All-Star Game approaches, let’s take an updated look at Ben Sheets’ season.

Last night, Sheets had his longest outing of the season, going 7.1 innings in a tough 3-1 loss against the mighty Yankees. This was his second-best outing of the year and his best one in a month, as he faced a very deep lineup.

The game displayed the ups and downs of his season. Sheets pitched a great game, except the home run that he gave up to Mark Teixeira, but still lost.

Through the first quarter of the season, I gave Sheets a “C-” grade. Now, we can look back at his starts since May 28th.

Sheets has started eight games since then, going 1-5 with two no-decisions. That’s a rough mark for a supposed top starter.

But he has been steady, giving up three earned runs in a game five times and four earned runs three times.

He has had to struggle with run support, which also explains his recent record.

The Athletics have put up just over four runs per game over Sheets’ last eight, which isn’t too bad, but that average is distorted by a 14-4 win over the Pirates. Without that game, the A’s have only averaged 2.7 runs for him.

Sheets has been more reliable, but he’s still not winning key divisional games, including a 4-2 loss to the Angels, which blunts my praise. Overall, he stands 3-8 with a 4.89 ERA. I’ll raise my grade, but just slightly.

Grade: C

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$5 Million into the Ben Sheets Experiment

The Oakland Athletics have played 79 games, and while they have not quite reached the midway point of their season, Ben Sheets has. The Athletics’ right-hander has made 17 starts and has accumulated a 3-7 record with a 5.05 ERA.


Most A’s fans ignored his early struggles and cited the fact that he did not pitch at all in 2009. Fans expected Sheets to struggle early, but to regain his form as the season progressed.


Unfortunately for A’s fans this is not what happened.


Sheets went eight starts between his second and third wins and posted an ERA of 3.94.


Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics made a big investment in Sheets this off-season and he has not lived up to his contract.


The A’s were hoping to get a number one starter and a veteran leader to help mentor the younger pitchers. Instead, they got neither.


Trevor Cahill has emerged as the ace of the staff, and although he is a veteran, I do not know how much the young starting pitchers will want to listen to a struggling pitcher who is constantly frustrated and trying to control his pitches.


A quick look at Ben Sheets numbers thus far show that he has “earned” $1.67 million for each win, $714,285 for each loss, $83,333 for each run, and $50,454 for each inning pitched.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Roy Oswalt Not Going To Texas Rangers, So Where?

Good day to all of you baseball fans. We still have a little more than a month before Major League Baseball’s trade deadline, and the rumors are flowing hot and heavily.

Not only are players moving, but you have Fredi Gonzalez getting fired in Florida because apparently no one is really good enough to manage the Marlins.

A few days ago we found out that the Texas Rangers were all but taken out of the Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee sweepstakes because a judge’s ruling in court over the bankruptcy proceedings.

There’s a ton going on, a lot of rumors to cover, players on the move, and so much more.

Who’s going, who’s staying, who’s going to make the biggest splash, who will be winners and losers, and who will shock us all?

Let’s get to it…

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Oakland Athletics’ Recent Struggles Mean Some Veterans Might Be on Borrowed Time

When I first arrived at the Oakland Coliseum for Tuesday’s game against the visiting Cincinnati Reds, the sky was mostly blue as the sun was successfully holding streaks of gloom at bay.

By the time the Athletics had finished batting practice about an hour later, the clouds had inflicted heavy casualties on the other side and were threatening to win the battle in a romp.

That seems like a pretty good metaphor for the tack Oakland’s 2010 season is on at the moment.

What started off in azure warmth is beginning to go cold and gray.

The Elephants have lost five of six games and eight of the last 10. They’ve fallen four games under .500 (ties a season-high) and dropped 8.5 games off the pace set by the first-place Texas Rangers (sets a season-high).

After finishing May at the top of the American League West, a June swoon—the club is 6-14 in the month—has been the anchor on the contention ship.

Only the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates have been worse for the last 22 days. That’s not the company you want to be keeping when rubbing Major League elbows.

Of course, all is not lost…yet.

You don’t need a calculator to figure out that, at 34-38, los Atleticos still have 90 games left on the docket.

Translation: forget about the All-Star break, we’re not even at the mathematical halfway point so there’s plenty of ball to be played.

The team could just as easily snap back to its April/May form as it could fall off the same cliff that’s swallowed the Seattle Mariners.

Regardless, the slide comes at a particularly inopportune time because of the Green and Gold’s history of having its hand forced by the small-market albatross circling above the Coliseum.

For the last three years, the franchise has wisely used the July 31 trade deadline as a chance to flip veteran commodities for younger ones.

And it’s done so at the slightest hint of non-contention.

In 2009, general manager/Moneyball mad scientist Billy Beane sent outfielder Matt Holliday and shortstop Orlando Cabrera packing.

Bob Geren’s bunch was 15 games under .500 and 17 games out of first when it pulled the July 24 trigger on Holliday; things had not improved noticeably when Cabrera hit the road a week later.

In 2008, pitchers Joe Blanton and Rich Harden were the veteran centerpieces moved for prospects. Harden took his exit on July 8 with the A’s eight games over .500 and sitting in second place, only five games out of the catbird seat.

Blanton walked out the door nine days later with the fellas in roughly the same spot.

In 2007, it was mercurial outfielder Milton Bradley and stoic catcher Jason Kendall on the move. Bradley said goodbye on June 29 with Oakland one game in the black and holding on to third place, 9.5 games out of first.

When Kendall took his leave 17 days later, the wheels were starting to come off as indicated by a 44-49 record and 12-game deficit.

All of the above begs the question, how much longer will seasoned vets like Kevin Kouzmanoff and Ben Sheets be with the franchise given the recent downturn?

The third baseman absolutely must be on some contender’s wish-list given the dearth of offensive might available at the hot corner.

For those of you who don’t get out to the West Coast much, Kouz has been utterly scalding in June.

Pick your favorite nugget—he’s raking at .418 with a 1.097 OPS and he’s launched five of his eight bombs this month.

Perhaps most impressively, he’s only suffered three hitless games and those came in starts made by Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Ryan Dempster.

Toss in the 28-year-old’s quality leather, his $3.1 million contract (expensive by Oaktown’s standards, but reasonable by most), and his departure seems like a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.”

By contrast, the big right-hander is a tougher sell.

Unfortunately for the A’s brass, it’s probably a more important one to make given his $10 million salary. If Kouzmanoff’s number is big in Oakland’s relative world, then that sucker is positively Zito-esque, which makes the fact that baseball’s Big Ben has yet to rediscover his pre-injury rhythm doubly troublesome.

The 31-year-old’s 6.29 K/9 is the lowest it’s been since his rookie campaign in 2001 and his 1.34 HR/9 is the highest since that same year. Meanwhile, his 3.81 BB/9, 4.95 ERA, and 1.47 WHIP are all career-highs.

In other words, the Athletics won’t exactly be selling high unless things change.

That’s not meant as an indictment of the Olympic gold medalist.

His body of work is incomplete and, frankly, it’s a tremendous accomplishment just taking the pearl every fifth day.

Remember, my man is trying to rebound from a serious elbow injury that caused him to spend an entire year gathering dust on the shelf. He literally didn’t throw a professional pitch in ’09 after a stellar ’08 effort was cut short by the torn flexor tendon.

And there’s always that pedigree.

Hopefully, Ben Sheets can turn it around and rattle off a string of quality outings.

But, if he doesn’t take the team with him, those blue skies of April and May won’t be the only fading memory around the Oakland Coliseum.

If history is any guide.



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